Lakeside Guide to Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico

Easter Week

At a Glance

The Passion Play dominates the events during Semana Santa in Ajijic.

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Easter Week in Ajijic 2018

2018’s Easter Week celebrations in Ajijic.

Palm Sunday — March 25

Palm Sunday starts with a special verbena de jamaica del pasado, a kind of old-time community potluck in the plaza with pozole, sopes, tamales and other traditional Mexican foods. All are made at homes in the town and sold in the plaza from 4 p.m. onwards and all the proceeds go to the production of the Passion Play.

Civil weddings will also take place at the registro civil booth and kids will be competing for wooden toys from Tlaquepaque during games of the traditional Mexican lotería — basically bingo, but using images on cards instead of numbers.

The Palm Sunday procession, which portrays Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem a few days before the Last Supper, starts at 6:30 p.m. at Seís Esquinas (Six Corners) and proceeds east along Hidalgo Street for 0.5 miles until it reaches St. Andrew’s Church near the plaza.

An outdoor mass is held at 7 p.m. in the church atrium and at 9 p.m. the electricity is turned out in the plaza for 30 minutes, turning back the time to what it was like 100 years ago to live with only candlelight.

Then, everyone in the plaza throws eggs filled with confetti at each other.

Maundy Thursday — March 29

The Passion Play’s portrayal of the Last Supper takes place at Seis Esquinas at 8:20 p.m. A procession then goes east on Hidalgo, turns north on Aquiles Serdan, crosses the highway and then proceeds up Tempisque to the foot of the hills.

After the procession reaches the hills at the top of Tempisque, a group of Romans comes at 9 p.m. to apprehend Jesus and take him to the Sanhedrin Trial. The procession continues back down Tempisque, east on Emiliano Zapata and south on Colón to the plaza, where the trial takes place at 10 p.m.

Good Friday — March 30

On Good Friday, the Passion Play starts at 11 a.m. in the atrium in front of St. Andrew’s Church with the trial before Pontius Pilate.

Then the actor portraying Jesus carries his heavy wooden cross through the cobblestone streets and to “Golgotha” (the hills north of Ajijic at the top of Tempisque street), where the crucifixion scene takes place. Along the way, he is flogged and collapses to the ground under the weight of the cross.

Everyone then heads back to St. Andrew’s Church, representing the Procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is buried.

Holy Saturday — March 31

On Saturday, the portrayal of the resurrection of Christ and the Easter Vigil takes place in the atrium outside St. Andrew’s Church at 8 p.m.

Easter Sunday

Guess what? On Easter Sunday, nothing happens. Not even the Easter Bunny really visits. There is an Easter Sunday mass and people celebrate with friends and family, and in other ways, but the Passion Play is over.

Photos of Easter Week

People spread alfalfa on Hidalgo Street at the plaza in Ajijic before the 4 p.m. Palm Sunday procession. It was customary in the ancient Near East to cover the path of someone thought to be highly honored.

People spread alfalfa on Hidalgo Street at the plaza in Ajijic before the 4 p.m. Palm Sunday procession. It was customary in the ancient Near East to cover the path of someone thought to be highly honored.

Alfalfa ready to be spread out in front of a chicken (and fruit/granola cup) store at the Ajijic plaza.

Alfalfa ready to be spread out in front of a chicken (and fruit/granola cup) store at the Ajijic plaza. The Gospel of John states that palm fronds were used during Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem, but alfalfa is more plentiful (not to mention probably more environmentally sound).

Hidalgo Street gets covered with a half-mile of alfalfa on Palm Sunday, from Six Corners to St. Andrew's Church at the plaza.

Hidalgo Street gets covered with a half-mile of alfalfa on Palm Sunday, from Six Corners to St. Andrew's Church at the plaza.

People spread alfalfa on Hidalgo Street before the Palm Sunday procession.

People spread alfalfa on Hidalgo Street before the Palm Sunday procession.

Verbena de Jamaica del Pasado

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Aztec dancers at the Virgin of Zapopan procession

Aztec Dancers

Aztec dancers, also known as concheros, lead the procession for the annual arrival of the Virgin of Zapopan in Chapala.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print
Verbena de Jamaica del Pasado
Verbena de Jamaica del Pasado
Verbena de Jaimaica del Pasado
Verbena de Jaimaica del Pasado
Verbena de Jamaica del Pasado
Sayaca during Carnival

Carnival & the Masked Sayacas of Ajijic

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See this Photo Essay
Verbena de Jaimaica del Pasado
Verbena de Jaimaica del Pasado
Verbena de Jamaica del Pasado
Verbena de Jaimaica del Pasado
Verbena de Jamaica del Pasado
The priest blesses the crowd with holy water from a Bonafont water bottle before the procession starts at Six Corners on Palm Sunday.

The priest blesses the crowd with holy water from a Bonafont water bottle before the procession starts at Six Corners on Palm Sunday.

A woman holds a spring of rosemary as the Palm Sunday procession goes down Hidalgo Street.

A woman holds a spring of rosemary as the Palm Sunday procession goes down Hidalgo Street.

The procession on Palm Sunday as participants hold up woven palmas made from palm fronds.

The procession on Palm Sunday as participants hold up woven palmas made from palm fronds.

Townspeople, apostles and the clergy walk in the Palm Sunday procession which portrays Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem a few days before the Last Supper.

Townspeople, apostles and the clergy walk in the Palm Sunday procession which portrays Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem a few days before the Last Supper.

Apostles acommpany Jesus as he rides a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm during a rendition of the Passion Play.

Apostles acommpany Jesus as he rides a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm during a rendition of the Passion Play.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Dance of the Niño Dormido

Dance of the Sleeping Child

A father & daughter perform an ancient dance from Mexico’s southernmost state, Chiapas.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print
Townspeople who could not find seating overflow outside the church during the outdoor Palm Sunday mass at 7 p.m.

Townspeople who could not find seating overflow outside the church during the outdoor Palm Sunday mass at 7 p.m.

Easter Week

A woman sells palmas at the church on Palm Sunday.

Easter WeekA boy waits for his mom to get fried sopes during the Verbena de Jamaica held on the evening of Palm Sunday in the Ajijic plaza.

A boy waits for his mom to get fried sopes during the Verbena de Jamaica held on the evening of Palm Sunday in the Ajijic plaza.

A family during the verbena in the Ajijic plaza.

A family during the verbena in the Ajijic plaza.

The verbena de jaimaica del pasado held from 4 p.m. onwards on Palm Sunday in the Ajijic Plaza. The event is a fundraiser for the Passion Play and features food made by the community.

The verbena de jaimaica del pasado held from 4 p.m. onwards on Palm Sunday in the Ajijic Plaza. The event is a fundraiser for the Passion Play and features food made by the community.

Día de los Angelitos

Day of the Little Angels: Remembering Children on the Day of the Dead

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See this Photo Essay
Verbena de Jamaica del Pasado
A girl sleeps in the back of a truck while her parents sell palm frond crosses on Palm Sunday.

A girl sleeps in the back of a truck while her parents sell palm frond crosses on Palm Sunday.

Carnival rides are set up for the kids during the week of Semana Santa.

Carnival rides are set up for the kids during the week of Semana Santa.

A boy waits for customers at one of the carnival rides.

A boy waits for customers at one of the carnival rides.

A boy as one of the apostles during the Passion Play in Ajijic.

A boy as one of the apostles during the Passion Play in Ajijic.

A boy tries to get a better view of the events unfolding in the atrium of St. Andrew's Church during the Good Friday Passion Play performance.

A boy tries to get a better view of the events unfolding in the atrium of St. Andrew's Church during the Good Friday Passion Play performance.

People watching the Passional Play on Good Friday.

People watching the Passional Play on Good Friday.

Roman soliders carry a cross up the hill the crucifixion scene during the Passion Play on Good Friday.

Roman soliders carry a cross up the hill the crucifixion scene during the Passion Play on Good Friday.

Roman soldiers erect Jesus on the cross on Good Friday.

Roman soldiers erect Jesus on the cross on Good Friday.

An actor delivers Jesus' speech from the cross during the Passion Play on Good Friday in Ajijic.

An actor delivers Jesus' speech from the cross during the Passion Play on Good Friday in Ajijic.

Guelaguetza

Oaxaca’s Guelaguetza Dances Come to Chapala

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See this Photo Essay
A roman soldier listens to Jesus speak during the crucifixion scene of the Passion Play.

A roman soldier listens to Jesus speak during the crucifixion scene of the Passion Play.

Townspeople watch the crucifixion of Jesus during the Passion Play in Ajijic. The crucifixion always takes place on the hillside north of the town.

Townspeople watch the crucifixion of Jesus during the Passion Play in Ajijic. The crucifixion always takes place on the hillside north of the town.

Roman soldiers returning to the plaza after crucifying Jesus on the hill behind Ajijic during the Passion Play.

Roman soldiers returning to the plaza after crucifying Jesus on the hill behind Ajijic during the Passion Play.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Day of the Dead Skull Wall

Candlelit Skull Wall on the Day of the Dead

Hundreds of candles illuminate a wall of handmade clay skulls on la noche de muertos during the Day of the Dead in Ajijic, Mexico.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print